Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians

One of the most daunting aspects when coming to live in Germany is what to do when medical problems occur.

I am often asked how to go about finding an English-speaking doctor, dentist or optician. I plan on doing a full article on this subject in the future, but for now I want to share my experiences since being here. One of the biggest myths about Germany is that everyone speaks English. A bigger myth is that all professionals speak it fluently. Whilst these myths may be true in large cosmopolitan cities, it isn’t the case in other ‘lesser’ areas. Continue reading “Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians”

Filing German Taxes

Moving to a new country is always daunting. Dealing with taxation must sit at the top of the “Oh My God” list for most expats, especially given that German taxation is complex even for the natives. Rightly or wrongly, I relied on my employer to get it right although my payslips always used to mystify me given that they were a full A4 sheet of seemingly endless deductions.

However, for me, things became complicated after I bought an investment property in Berlin and a small business. All this meant doing income tax and VAT returns electronically in German. To attempt to do it myself would have been a recipe for disaster, so I got professional help.
Continue reading “Filing German Taxes”

Trading German Beer for English Tea & Bacon

I suspect many of you who drive to Germany for holidays or whatever are guilty of this. My best mate and his three sons came to visit from England and they brought over several month’s supply Tetley tea bags, English bacon and Cheddar cheese.

As you can see, rather than taking the truck back empty they took advantage of the cheap booze here. No Riesling made it onto the truck – we polished the whole lot off at the weekend…

German Property Searches

In response to a growing number of messages I am receiving asking about how to go about finding properties in the area, I can recommend the following web search engines:

Unfortunately, they are in German but it is easy enough to find your way around them using a dictionary, or for those who really cannot be bothered, by running them through an online translator such as the one available on Google Chrome.

I am working on doing a full article which will include common terminology and other bits of advice on finding property. I will publish that as soon as I can.

Health Guide for Immigrants

After much digging on the internet, I discovered a reasonably useful booklet titled “Health Guide for persons with migration background in Rheinland-Pfalz”. I say “reasonably” as it was published in 2010, although the bulk of the information in it should still be valid.

Published by Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. as part of the “Healthcare Economy Initiative Rheinland-Pfalz”, it contains useful information on the German healthcare system. Topics covered include regular preventative check-ups, visiting a doctor, sick leave from work, state health insurance and dealing with medical emergencies.

The brochure is available in three different languages:

It’s unfortunate that such well-meant initiatives never seem to get very far. As mentioned above, the brochure has not been updated since 2010. It is also hidden deep in the Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. website which is only available in German. It would be a real help if they at least put some flags on the homepage to take you directly to these documents. Also, the brochure also mentions another website,, but that just links back to the Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung.

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